October Takeover: Halloween History

~posted by Meranda T.

Halloween_Vintage_05Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. My earliest movie memories have to do with Halloween. Such as Ray Bradbury’s Halloween Tree. Which is both a movie and a book. While I didn’t read the book until recently, the movie truly influenced me. It’s a fun The Halloween Tree by Ray BradburyHalloween movie that explores the history of Halloween and is narrated by Ray Bradbury himself! Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud (voiced by Leonard Nimoy) is the leader in this voyage through time along with four kids on Halloween night trying to save their friend and learn about how Halloween came into existence. I recommend both the book and the movie but personally, I think the movie is better.

However, if you would like a more details on Halloween here are a few suggestions:

Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween by Lisa MortonLisa Morton wrote a very in depth book about Halloween called Trick or Treat. Halloween is a constantly changing holiday and has its roots reaching far into our history. Lisa Morton provides a lot of folklore that is involved in the origins of Halloween and its traditions. She does her research well (quoting resources) and does her best to cut ties with all the misinformation we have on the holiday and debunk common myths. I do not feel like I am slogging through a textbook but truly enjoy the way she explores the topic. I certainly learned a lot.

Artist: Nathaniel C. Sheetz
Nathaniel C. Sheetz, Wikimedia Commons

Day of the Dead by Kitty WilliamsAlong side Halloween is Day of the Dead, or Dia De Los Muetos. Unlike Halloween, Day of the Dead is a joyous holiday where you celebrate your guests of honor, the dead. Day of the Dead by Kitty Williams and Stevie Mack give you a fun look at this holiday. The book is full of beautiful and bright pictures. There are many details on this holiday and recipes at the end. I think I’ll be trying to make sugar skulls this year.

Halloween and Day of the Dead Traditions Around the World by Joan Axelrod-ContradaThis last one may be a children’s book but it does give you some insight into traditions from all over the globe. Halloween and Day of the Dead Traditions Around the World by Joan Axelrod-Contrada visits nine different places to give you a brief gloss of how they celebrate their dead. Whether or not you have children, it’s a great resource to get a brief insight of many different cultures from Poland to Nigeria to Japan and a few other locations.

Automn Mix Candy in Happy Halloween Pail
TheCulinaryGeek, Flickr Creative Commons

I found these books truly enlightening about my favorite holiday and the season around it. I hope you will be able to learn a little more about festivities that take place in October from these books.

Pumpkin Soup

soupHere is a recipe I’ve been making for years. I don’t really follow a recipe so feel free to modify it to your own personal taste. This is just my most recent incarnation of the recipe. I measured things out this time!

1 small sugar pie pumpkin (Or squash that you can bake)

Olive Oil

1 large onion

5 garlic cloves

4 cups stock (I prefer vegetable stock)

1 teaspoon Sage

1 pinch Rosemary

1 teaspoon Thyme

1 tablespoon dried Parsley

2 Bay Leaves



  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds. (Feel free to save the seeds to roast later.) Oil the cut sides of the pumpkin and place it cut side down on a tin foil covered baking tray with sides. Bake for 45 minutes or until a fork can be easily inserted. Let cool.
  2. Dice the onion and garlic cloves. Place the onion in a large pot with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Cook the onion until translucent, add garlic. Cook another 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  3. Add the four cups of stock along with the sage, rosemary, thyme, parsley, and bay leaves. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil.
  4. Remove pumpkin from shell and add to stock. Bring back to boil.
  5. Once boiling, remove from heat. Take out bay leaves. Now you can make the soup smooth by using an emersion blender or letting the soup cool and using a blender. Reheat and enjoy!

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